Inventing Anna subject sues Netflix for defamation over her depiction as 'greedy and snobbish'

·2 min read

Rachel Williams is not happy with how she was portrayed in Inventing Anna.

The former Vanity Fair photo editor known for her connection to con artist Anna Sorokin, a.k.a. Anna Delvey, filed a defamation lawsuit against Netflix on Monday over the nature of her depiction in the docudrama.

Inventing Anna is based on a 2018 article in New York magazine recounting Sorokin's (Julia Garner) rise and eventual downfall as she scammed New York society out of millions of dollars by pretending to be a German heiress. In the series, Katie Lowes (Scandal) portrays Williams, who is shown as being more than willing to accept expensive gifts and trips from Sorokin, but ultimately betrays her friend to the authorities after Sorokin convinces her to put major charges on her credit cards but fails to reimburse her.

Julia Garner as Anna Delvey and Katie Lowes as Rachel Williams in 'Inventing Anna'
Julia Garner as Anna Delvey and Katie Lowes as Rachel Williams in 'Inventing Anna'

Nicole Rivelli/Netflix Julia Garner as Anna Delvey and Katie Lowes as Rachel Williams in 'Inventing Anna'

The real Williams' lawsuit, filed in Delaware federal court and obtained by Deadline Hollywood, alleges that nearly everything about her character on the show was fabricated and paints her in a negative light — especially since her character uses a real person's first and last name, along with personal information such as her employment and school history. "This action will show that Netflix made a deliberate decision for dramatic purposes to show Williams doing or saying things in the Series which portray her as a greedy, snobbish, disloyal, dishonest, cowardly, manipulative and opportunistic person," the lawsuit says.

EW has reached out to Williams' attorneys, Netflix, and series creator Shonda Rhimes for comment.

In the lawsuit, Williams calls out some of the show's alleged inaccuracies. She says she sometimes paid for drinks with Delvey and split the bill other times, while the show made it out to look like Sorokin paid for everything. In response to a scene that shows Williams abandoning Sorokin in Morocco after her credit card gets declined, Williams alleges that she told Sorokin in advance that she'd be leaving early for work.

"Williams did not stop being friends with Sorokin because Sorokin was having problems in Morocco, but rather because she subsequently discovered on her return to New York that Sorokin was a liar and a con artist whose statements and promises had induced Williams to incur liabilities of around $62,000 on Sorokin's behalf were false, and who only reimbursed her $5,000 despite numerous promises to reimburse her $70,000 to account for the full debt and any late fees incurred," the complaint says.

Inventing Anna, which consists of nine episodes and was released in February, begins with a disclaimer that says, "This story is completely true. Except for the parts that are totally made up." Rhimes recently said in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, "There was stuff that we invented because it needed to be invented to make the story really sing and be what it should be."

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